We extort N35,000 every day, claims the false LASTMA officer who was arrested.
During the weekend, LASTMA agents detained Mr. Omotutu Bamidele, 55, a suspected serial fake traffic officer for the organization, in the state’s Ikoyi neighborhood.
The suspect, Bamidele, who is from “Atijere Town” in Ondo State, admitted that he and his colleagues who are still at large were earning an average of N35,000 per day from extortion acts.
The suspect admitted to posing as a LASTMA officer and demanding money from drivers, especially private car owners and drivers, in upscale areas all over the state while wearing a reflective jacket.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ashafa Moyosore, head of the agency’s Monitoring/Surveillance team, was able to apprehend the suspect at Olu Holloway Road by Alfred Rewane area of Ikoyi, according to Bolaji Oreagba, general manager of LASTMA. (Zonal Head).
Oreagba added that the Agency monitored the suspect specifically and conducted surveillance operations before arresting him in response to complaints made by motorists (Obinna Kingsley and Adewusi Adebola) via LASTMA hotlines and social media accounts.
Investigations conducted, according to Oreagba, “showed that the arrested suspect have been extorting huge sums of money from motorists for various traffic offences ranging from seat-belt, obstructions, illegal over-taking, and One-way at different locations around the Lagos Island.
“Receiving complaints from road users, especially motorists, about the actions of these dishonest individuals impersonating them and extorting money from them, is disheartening.”
As a result, the head of LASTMA warned the public to be wary of those phony traffic officers, claiming that the organization has a cashless policy and that anyone apprehended for violating the law will have a “Referral Notice” issued to them and will be charged in court.
“Let me warn the driving public to desist from bribing traffic officers in any way (with money),” claims Oregaba. “Both the giver and the taker are liable before the law.”
However, he issued a warning to other impersonators posing as LASTMA employees, telling them to stop their illicit activities right away because more surveillance personnel have been strategically deployed to look for them.
The suspect admits
Bamidele admitted further that he had operated in the Ikoyi, Obalende, Apongbon Bridge, Iporin, and Olowu areas, apprehending both commercial and private cars for various traffic infractions, including driving against traffic. Bamidele confirmed that he was living with his younger brother inside one of the Army Barracks in Lagos. (One-Way).
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“Any motorists, particularly private car owners, i caught dropping someone at any undesignated bus stop paid between N15,000 and N20,000, while those caught for driving against traffic (One-way) paid a minimum of N35,000,” he claimed.
A complainant named Mr. Adewusi Adebola confirmed that on March 6, 2023, the suspect (Bamidele) had detained him for “obstruction” near the Spac Bus Stop by Awolowo Road in Ikoyi and had demanded N20,000 from him in exchange for dropping off his colleagues.
While Bamidele, the arrested suspect, claimed that Obinna Kingsley had been forced to transfer N50,000 to him for “obstruction” on Awolowo Road by the Obalende Bridge toward Tafawa Balewa Square, T.B.S., via one of the LASTMA social media accounts (Twitter).
Mr. Adewusi Adebola, owner of a Toyota Corolla (LSR 299 AY), one of the victims of Bamidele, responded to inquiries by saying, “Honestly speaking, I had written series of negative stories about activities of LASTMA on social media, particularly on “Twitter,” since the ugly incidents occurred.
I was unaware that the man I reported for extorting money from me was a fake traffic officer until LASTMA management informed me of his arrest.
According to the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State, the Director, Legal Department (LASTMA), Barr. Akerele Kehinde, announced that the arrested suspect would be charged to court on Monday, March 27, 2023, with all items recovered from him (a fake identity card and a reflective jacket) as exhibits.
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